Like most successful entrepreneurs, Chris Riccobono says his company, UNTUCKit, was born out of a problem he wanted to solve. He was searching for a shirt that was effortlessly polished but at the same time casual. What started as an idea in 2010 is now in 65 stores nationwide, with plans to expand into Canada and England soon. We spoke to Chris, who is a father of two young boys—20 months and 6 weeks—about his growing brand, fatherhood and more.
Where do you live?
We live in Madison, New Jersey. I grew up in North New Jersey in Franklin Lakes, Bergen County, so I wanted to be close to the shore but also very close to NYC where I work. Madison is a great family town and we’ve beeb there for three years.
How do you describe the UNTUCKit brand?
It’s a brand that allows men to look polished casual without much effort, which is important to guys. You can look great and neat in this new world where everything is casual, but you still can look trendy and nice. We call it polished casual.
Where did the idea come from?
I personally needed a shirt that looked better untucked…I realized this was a problem that did not have a solution. That’s where the best entrepreneur ideas come out.
What’s your favorite part of being an entrepreneur?
I love the excitement and the risk, and now I love working with a large team that’s so passionate about the business I started essentially out of my apartment. But it can also be very stressful. There’s no safety net—you’re either going to succeed or fail. As you get older, once you have a family, if the idea you’re working on doesn’t work, there’s a lot of pressure. Also you’re working 20 hours a day because it’s your business…and when you start a brand or company you need to be the one working those hours.
What’s next for UNTUCKit?
It’s really to focus on international expansion. We’ll have 85 stores by the end of this year.
Wow! And in terms of fatherhood—favorite part?
Just watching my sons change every day. They change so much when they’re young—from not being able to talk to really understanding things.
What are you hoping to do or receive on Father’s Day?
UNTUCKit is a great gift for Father’s Day! It’s my first Father’s Day with my youngest son so I’m just looking forward to spending time with both of them. And maybe drinking a good bottle of wine.
Is there anything that’s surprised you about becoming a dad?
I guess how patient you need to be.
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